Some bank branches are closing
HSBC Bank will close a quarter of its UK branches. According to a statement issued by the financial group on Wednesday, from April next year the number of branches will be reduced by 114, while 327 will continue to operate.
The main reason for the decision was cited as changing customer preferences, which are increasingly turning to online banking services. "Over the past five years, the use of the bank branch network by regular customers has fallen by 65%. The decline in bank branch usage has accelerated dramatically since the covid pandemic and some of the branches that are closing are serving less than 250 customers per week," HSBC said in a statement.
It is worth noting that HSBC had 593 branches at the beginning of last year, but the latest round of closures, scheduled for April to August next year, will bring that number down to 327. The bank has already closed 69 branches this year, in addition to 82 last year.
HSBC, which has almost 15 million customers in the UK, said footfall at the vast majority of its closing branches had fallen by at least 50% over the past five years. It added that the decline in branch usage had accelerated so much since the pandemic that some of the closing outlets were now serving less than 250 customers a week.
"People are changing the way they work with banks and attendance at many branches is at an all-time low, with no sign of it coming back. Remote banking is becoming the norm for the vast majority of us," said Jackie Uhi, the bank's managing director of distribution in the UK.
Also the founder of the My Community Finance website, said he hoped the bank would invest the money saved in improving its digital and phone banking offerings.
According to the BBC Broadcasting Corporation, about 100 bank staff will lose their jobs as a result of the planned restructuring.
Previously, other major UK lending institutions, including Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest, had all made significant cuts to their bank branches. In total, almost 4,600 bank branches have closed their doors in the UK since 2015.